Artist’s Lane: Recognizing the seasons of harvest


By Betty Slade
PREVIEW Columnist

“Be wise and harvest in summer.” 

I immediately said to my Sweet Al, “What’s does that proverb mean? You don’t harvest during the summer months, you do it in the fall.”

Am I wrong? Isn’t the definition of the word harvest, a process or period of gathering crops? After all, the April apple is still yet a blossom and the June apple is like a green tart marble. It is only in October that a big, luscious, juicy sweet apple is ready to be enjoyed. 

On the heels of that thought, I realized that I was having my own teachable moment. Isn’t it that we harvest when we toil the soil then plant a seed? Perhaps, it’s when we see a tiny leaf break through the earth after watering and caring for that seed. Certainly, harvesting must include the process of watching over a plant until it grows to maturity. 

When we look at our children, we don’t declare a harvest, only at the point when they have achieved something great or have reached a pinnacle. There are too many seasons of change not to recognize all that they produce. In fact, each of those seasons offers something different and unique. Some, the necessary process of flowering. Some, fruit. 

As parents, we don’t have to go through too many seasons to know that we have to care for each one independently. Some yield delicious fruit while others produce something sour and hard to swallow. Then there is the barren season. Even then, we can recognize the pleasant benefit of leafy vegetation. 

I am reminded of a story titled, “Don’t Quit, Keep Playing.” 

Wishing to encourage her young son’s progress on the piano, a mother took her boy to a Paderewski concert. After they were seated, the mother spotted a friend in the audience and walked down the aisle to greet her. Seizing the opportunity to explore the wonders of the concert hall, the little boy rose and eventually made his way over to a door marked “No Admittance.”

The house lights dimmed as the concert was about to begin. The mother, who was eagerly anticipating the evening’s overture, returned to her seat only to discover that her child had gone missing. Suddenly, the curtains parted down the middle and the spotlight focused on an impressive stage-size Steinway. 

Expectancy turned to horror as the mother saw her little boy sitting at the keyboard. The grand hall echoed as the youngster innocently pecked out the notes of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” 

Even as murmurs of embarrassment flooded the background, I’m sure you could have heard a pin drop as the great piano master made his entrance. He quickly moved to the piano and whispered in the boy’s ear, “Don’t quit, keep playing.”

Leaning over the young child, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and begun playing the bass part of the well-known lullaby. Soon after, the pianist reached over the lad with his right arm adding a running obbligato to the piece. As if a performance rehearsed to perfection, the old master and the young novice transformed the humble beginning into a wonderfully creative oratorio. All of this to a mesmerized audience. 

Was the harvest the legendary masterpiece or the simple act of a child who just wanted to see what the light that shown on him could produce? 

Final brushstroke: It is easy to take for granted that we are in a season that yields great crops. How important it is to recognize how we got here, those seasons that came before. While yesterday’s fruits of labor may be less palatable, it is with wisdom that we see their constructive path as what made today so sweet. 

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